Most of us working in BPO companies don’t get to have enough sleep. We are just about to go home while people from the “outside world” are already on their way to school or work, ready to start a new day. It is not easy, but we all get used to the “call centre lifestyle.” Thanks to our daily dose of caffeine for giving us a quick fix. Coffee, our favourite drug, may offer us health benefits, but it also has negative effects on our health.
Studies have shown that aside from jump-starting our day, the long term consumption of coffee may lower one’s chances of developing Parkinson’s disease, gallstones, kidney stones and liver cirrhosis for heavy drinkers of coffee. The chlorogenic acid present in good-quality ground coffee may help with weight loss. However, notwithstanding the fact that caffeine is addictive, it has also been found to cause osteoporosis, heart disease, and increase high cholesterol, and as we already know, it alters our sleep cycle and reduces our sleep time.
Even if most coffee drinkers know of the negative effects of drinking coffee, they are not willing to give it up any time soon. They ask, “What other choices do we have?”
Luckily, there are natural ways of combatting sleepiness.
Researchers from the University of Georgia analysed 70 studies involving almost 7,000 participants and have found that exercising increases energy and reduces daytime exhaustion better than some medications for sleep problems. Exercising regularly also gives better sleep quality.
Workout at least 30 minutes a day. Eat meals containing protein and carbohydrates within two hours after a heavy workout to lessen energy loss. Avoid working out just hours before your bedtime because the energy surge from your exercise will keep you awake when you try to sleep.
- Get some daylight
Spending at least 30 minutes a day out in the sun regulates our sleep-wake cycle. An hour in natural sunlight is recommended by experts if you are suffering from insomnia. The mere stepping outside to have a breath of fresh air is itself enough to wake the senses up.
- Take a deep breath
Taking deep breaths increases the blood oxygen supply in the body. This lowers the blood pressure, slows the heart rate, improves blood circulation, and enhances mental and physical performance.
- Move around
In a study conducted by Robert Thayer, PhD, a professor at California State University, Long Beach, it was found that candy bars increased energy quickly but made the participants more tired and had less energy after one hour. On the other hand, a 10-minute walk gave participants an energy boost that lasted for two hours.
If you are confined in an area or a desk, get up and take short walks frequently. At breaks, walk to the nearest café, or restaurant. If you bring snacks, head for a nice place to have them. Don’t eat them on your table. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Don’t ask your friend to get you something to eat or drink – get it yourself. That would be good for both of you. Whether you walk just in the building, on the floor, or outside, walking will help revive your senses.
- Eat healthy snacks
Sweets give you that sudden boost of energy, but sugar “lows” are sure to follow causing sluggishness and clouding of consciousness. Eating healthy snacks like yogurt, nuts, fresh fruits, vegetable sticks, and the like will help keep you running for a longer time.
- Drink Water
Fatigue can also be caused by dehydration. Be sure to drink plenty of water and eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in water.
- Stay in the light
A dark or dim environment worsens fatigue. Scientific studies show that exposure to bright light keeps the senses perked up and reduces sleepiness. Try to increase the intensity of the light in your wok area.
- Switch tasks
In a research done by Finnish researchers in 2004, it was found that monotonous work negatively affects one’s alertness as much as sleep loss did. Try to reserve some thought-provoking tasks for sleepy times. Switch to these engaging tasks when you feel like dozing off.
- Engage in small talks
Engaging in small chitchats gets you moving again when you start fading. Talk to your colleague about the weather, the latest movies, the newly-opened restaurant, politics, or religion. Barry Krakow, Medical Director of Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences, Ltd. in Albuquerque, N.M, says, “It’s a very strong behavioural stimulator – especially when it’s a conversation about politics.”
- Take a nap
Oh yes, I get you. Napping at work is a touchy issue. If you can’t take a nap, even just resting quietly with your eyes closed for about 10 minutes will do wonders,” according to Allison T. Siebern, PhD, a fellow at the Stanford University Sleep Medicine Centre in Redwood City, California.